Alternative Energy

Risk, Hazards, and Population; Climate Change; Fossil Fuels/Nuclear Energy; Renewable and Alternative Energy; Surface/Groundwater

Risk, Hazards, and Population 

  1. What role does social vulnerability play in the perception of risk? 

Name two places or regions in the world that are highly populated. 

Climate Change 

Define climate change. How is it different than weather? 

Name two natural processes that contribute to a changing climate on Earth. 

Describe the Greenhouse effect. Which non-condensing greenhouse gas contributes a relatively high percentage of greenhouse warming? 

Look at the Vostok ice core graph. Describe the general trends (increasing or decreasing) for solar radiation, global average temperature and carbon dioxide (CO2) levels levels over the past 400,000 years. 

7. Describe what has happened to the Antarctica, Arctic, and Greenland ice sheet and sea level rise in response to these trends. 

Name three things that ice cores can tell us about the Earth. 

What greenhouse gas is the largest contributor to global emissions? 

10.Which economic sector contributes the most global greenhouse gas emissions? 

11.How does United States, China, and India compare for global greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels and some industrial processes? 

12.Name three environmental changes observed with recent changes in the Earth’s climate. 

Fossil Fuels/Nuclear Energy 

13.According to the lecture in this class, provide a definition of fossil fuel. 

14.What are the five (5) primary fossil fuels used around the world? 

15.How are the five (5) primary fossil fuels different? How are they obtained from the Earth and what are they used for? 

16.Where is the world’s largest coal mining reserve? 

17.Approximately what percentage of energy is generated by fossil fuels in the United States? 

18.What types of electricity generating power plants do we have in California? Which fossil fuel type is primarily relied on in California?How does this relate to the increased reliance of hydraulic fracking technologies? 

19.As related to climate change mitigation strategies, why is nuclear power being strongly considered as a plausible energy source strategy? 

20.How many active nuclear power plants and nuclear reactors are in the United States? The world? How many applications to build nuclear power plants in the United States are pending approval? 

21.Which government agency has regulated commercial nuclear power plants since 1975 in the United States? Name an international nuclear organization this United States government agency partners with. 

22.Which states have implemented state restrictions on new nuclear power facility construction until the identification of a demonstrable technology, or a means for high level waste disposal or reprocessing can be satisfactorily met? 

23.Some say the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (nuclear power plant) located in San Clemente, California, is a “Fukishima waiting to happen.” What happened at this facility and why was it closed? 

24.What commodities are mined to supply the materials necessary to run nuclear power plants? Where are these mines located in the world? 

25.Many United States nuclear power plant facilities must store spent fuel rods on site. Where are the proposed long term storage sites located? Name one issue surrounding these proposed long term storage sites. 

26.Describe what happened in a major nuclear power plant or storage site accident covered in lecture. 

Renewable and Alternative Energy 

27.How is a renewable energy source different than an alternative energy source? Give an example of each. 

28.What is Assembly Bill 32 and how does it relate to California’s Renewable Portfolio Standard’s objectives to implement more renewable energy sources in the state? 

29.In 2006, the State of California determined that approximately 23% of California’s electricity consumption could be generated by ocean wave energy along 745 miles of available coastline. Describe economic, environmental impacts, land-use, and grid interconnection consumption concerns that may limit the implementation of this potential energy source in California’s future. 

30.What is the La Rance Tidal Power Plant? Where else has this technology been successfully implemented, either as a pilot project or permanently on a smaller scale? 

31.Name three (3) countries that rely on geothermal sources to generate electricity. 

32.Compare three (3) pros and cons of two (2) renewable energy sources (solar, wind, hydroelectric, biomass, hydrogen/fuel cells, geothermal, tidal power, ocean wave power, ocean thermal energy conversion). 

33.Some say that the implementation of renewable energy sources will be at a local or regional scale, dependent on what sources are economically viable. What do you believe will be the solution for California? 

Surface Water/Groundwater 

34.Name three (3) pollutants found in surface water and/or groundwater. 

35.Describe what happened to the Aral Sea and Mono Lake. 

36.Which watershed do you live in?

37.Describe the difference between porosity and permeability. 

38.Surface water is described in terms of drainage basins or watersheds; groundwater is described in terms of ___________________ or _________________. 

39.What are some adverse impacts of groundwater overdraw? 

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